We really have a lot to learn from Japanese Mascot Character Parliament 【Video】

Parliament without everyone fighting like cats and dogs and otters and bears and beavers and…

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Kumamon and other Japanese mascots get muscular makeover in new energy drink commercial【Video】

It falls somewhere between impressive and terrifying. We’ll let you decide.

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What social distancing looks like in Japan

Companies, characters and mascots use kawaii humour to spread an important message. 

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“Ugly” mascot Sento-kun finds new popularity 12 years after debut

Savvy business practices helped the once-unsettling chimera win over hearts in the end.

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Kumamoto mascot Kumamon’s chance of being Olympic torch runner in jeopardy

Organizing committee seems to have a problem with a huge clumsy bear running around with an open flame.

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Adorable mascot bear Kumamon stars on the most popular new license plate in Japan

Kumamoto’s goodwill ambassador is even more popular than Mt. Fuji!

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Animation studio formed by ex-Pixar employees to helm anime project The Mystery of Kumamon

Tonko House will take responsibility for bringing Kumamon’s exploits overseas in a future animation project.

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Kumamon comes under fire for prank against TV presenter, apologizes

Beloved regional mascot admits he’s been a bad, bad bear.

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New Japanese Kit Kat raises funds for earthquake-damaged Kumamoto region

The brand new flavour tastes just like a famous local specialty from the prefecture.

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Japanese convenience store Christmas cakes are cuter than ever!

This is what Christmas dessert looks like in Japan.

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This year’s contest to choose Japan’s greatest mascot attracting some shady characters

Call me old fashioned but I remember when mascots were meant to be cute, not demons spawned by human weakness or yam ninjas.

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Pokémon GO enters partnership to help disaster-stricken regions of Japan 【Video】

Four prefectures in Japan team up with Pokémon GO developer Niantic to speed up their recovery.

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New green tea Japanese Kit Kat released to raise funds for earthquake-damaged Kumamoto region

Kit Kat joins forces with regional mascot Kumamon to help people in the affected area.

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Perhaps the most expensive character bento ever has been sold for a fantastic cause

We’re talking about thousands of dollars here!

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Touching messages of support for Kumamoto by artists in China and the manga world

A wave of support for the people of Kumamoto has come out of China in the form of warmhearted illustrations featuring the local mascot Kumamon.

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Is Kumamoto City surpassing Tokyo as the fashion capital of Japan?

Kumamoto City, the capital of the Kyushu prefecture of the same name, has always been in a bit of an awkward position. It doesn’t really have the metropolitan appeal of Tokyo, or the world-famous nature and hot springs of northern Japan, or even the tropical island allure of Okinawa. Plus, it’s a heck of a long way away from the capital. So why would someone decide to visit Kumamoto?

The answer just might be fashion. For the past several years, Kumamoto has steadily been building itself up as the fashion capital of Japan. Now, it’s come to the point where some would say that if you want to see the future of Japan’s fashion, don’t look at Tokyo, but look at Kumamoto instead.

Has Tokyo, the fashion king of Japan, finally been dethroned?

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Kumanu!!! Japan’s most popular mascot meets Keanu Reeves at endurance motorcycle championship

Did you know that actor Keanu Reeves has his own motorcycle production company, Arch Motorcycle? We had no idea either, until he made an impromptu appearance at the Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture for the 8 Hours Motorcycle Endurance World Championship on July 25, test-driving his very own KRGT-1 Superbike.

Oh, and he also met Kumamoto Prefecture’s beloved yuru-kyara Kumamon at the same time!

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Kumamon and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day【Video】

Kumamon is the official mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture in southern Japan. Since his debut in 2010, he’s become wildly popular, appearing in all kinds of media and lending his face to uncountable products. By some estimates, he’s pulling down hundreds of billions of yen a year. He’s given a guest lecture at Harvard, despite being mute, and has even met the imperial couple.

But despite this blessed existence, even mascots have bad days. And being in the public eye, those bad days are immortalized on film.

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Kyaraben roundup! We take a look back at 2014’s best packed lunches 【Pics】

The Kyaraben trend is still going strong in Japan, and even though winter has prompted some to make the temporary switch to deco-nabe, the demand for adorable packed lunches shows no signs of abating. Today we’d like to take a look back over the best of the past year’s Kyaraben. What can we learn about 2014 in Japan from studying these perfect works of edible art?

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Gunma-chan is named the champion of the 2014 mascot character contest

Have you ever wondered how Kumamon suddenly burst into the spotlight back in 2011? It was the result of his victory in the national mascot character contest, the Yuru-kyara Grand Prix. The contest has been held every year since 2010 and Kumamon was the first major winner in 2011.

Voting for the annual contest runs from August to October every year and people are eligible to vote for their favorite character (usually the one representing their town or prefecture) once a day for the duration of the contest. Well, the results for the 2014 contest are finally in, and it looks like a certain entrant took the win by a nose.

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